Are you achieving the goals in your global development strategy? Authors of a recent Harvard Business Review article, “Does your Company Have What It Takes to Go Global?” concluded that external factors — such as positive market trends, demand for products and services, qualified partners, etc. — set the stage for an international opportunity but do not guarantee long-term success. These authors believe, after working with more than 100 organizations for years, that internal preparedness and capabilities are the components that increase the organization’s likelihood for global success.
In my experience working with associations, the more you can answer “yes” to the following questions, the greater your organization’s prospects for the achievement of your global development strategy.
Priority – Does your organization’s leadership place a priority on global expansion? Are they aware of your initiatives in various countries/regions? Are your international successes and challenges reviewed regularly at Board meetings?
Experience – Do your employees have sufficient knowledge and experience (cross-cultural skills, demographic/political issues, understanding of “doing business”) to succeed? Are you conducting staff training on the markets/regions you are operating in? Are you exchanging your headquarters’ and international expertise on an on-going basis?
Alignment – Does your organization strategically align its goals, capabilities and resources with the scope of your target market initiatives? Are you ensuring adequate support for the amount of time and resources spent on your investments?
Adaptability – Does your organization adapt to new ways of doing business (i.e., accommodate distribution and support requirements in-country, etc.) despite different overseas practices? Is your association nimble, able to seize opportunities, and make international course-corrections and decisions in a timely manner?
Flexibility – Does your organization’s policies accommodate the legal and ethical standards of the local environment? Are you willing to adhere to local legal requirements even if less rigorous than in the U.S.?
Ambiguity – Does your organization support a culture that tolerates financial uncertainty and market volatility? Does your leadership understand that it may take considerable time to earn a Return on Investment or even break-even when navigating unchartered territory?
Perseverance – Does your organization clearly and consistently demonstrate commitment to its global initiatives despite obstacles? Is your leadership committed to globalization for the long-term?
How many of these questions could you answer “yes” to? What questions impact your organization’s chances of flourishing globally?
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